izi4u Software Solutions has releasedizi-Applicant 1.2, an update to its utility for managing data related to job applicnts. Version 1.2 adds the possibility to enter the applicants interview notes for each review session separately. Prices starting at $245. [Download - Classic, OS X] Sillysoft has released an update to Lux, its adaptation of the Risk board game. Version 2.2 brings network play enhancements, including the ability to have AI players in network games. Stability improvements (especially for MacOS 10.1 users) and a little speed increase, as well as an optional poof explosion are also present. Lux is $10 shareware, and comes with a 30 game trial period. [Download - 2.3MB] Stick Software today released version 1.0.1 of Trisection, fixing a compatibility problem with OS X 10.1.5 and earlier. Users who experienced problems with version 1.0 should download 1.0.1. Trisection is new puzzle game for Mac OS X that follows in the "grand tradition" of Tetris, involving fitting falling pieces into an existing matrix. "But in Trisection, you're matching up colors, not just completing rows." It is shareware, with a price of $15. [Download - 6.3MB]
Enigmo is a new puzzle game developed by Pangea Software and distributed by MacPlay. It features 70 levels (50 regular and 20 "kid difficulty") of "mind-teasing fun" as well as an editor that allows players to create games they can share with friends. The goal of the game is to use a variety of bumpers, sliders, accelerators, and sponges to redirect falling drops of water, oil, and lava into their appropriate containers. Enigmo is $25.
MicroNet Technology today announced the introduction of the new Platinum Professional product family, available with FireWire800/ USB 2.0 or FireWire400/ USB 2.0 interface combinations. Featuring speeds exceeding 56MB/Sec from a single disk drive, fanless design for silent operation, sturdy aluminum casing, and increased cable length capability of 100 meters, these new storage powerhouses offer "performance and flexibility never before seen without expensive RAID controllers," according to the manufacturer. It is compatible with Mac OS 9/X and Windows.
Gluon's updated ProPack library of Quark XTensions now includes 16 professional-grade XTensions at the reduced price of $200 (previously $350). The new "turbo-charged" ProPack includes: QC (pre-flight utility), QC Collect (document collection with Merge collect), ProScale EV (resizing utility), Cropster (crops, guides, arrows, folds, etc.), Linkster (unlink and relink text), ProGrids & Guides (creating grids and managing guides), ProGreeker (disables copy/text while editing), IDropper (Copy attributes), Reporter (reporting), Outlines, ShapeMaker, SpotCheck (switch between Spot and Process color), Bump City (bumping and nudging), DragIn Powerful (drag & drop to create catalogs and contact sheets), NaviZoom Navigate.
UserCreations today delivered Spring 1.3, a significant upgrade to its web-inspired universal canvas where users "interact naturally with singular, visual representations of the people, places, products, etc that define your life....'With new content like Movie, Food, and Music objects, direct canvas to canvas trading, and countless fit and finish improvements, UserCreations continues to deliver on the promise of a more human, less machine-like user experience.'" Spring includes direct canvas-to-canvas trading (via AIM), better Watson integration, drag & drop of rich and plain text, better browser and email client support, Safari bookmark integration, and other advanced features. Pricing is $22. A fully functional demo is available.
Aspyr today announced that it has sent 4th generation game SimCity 4 to duplication. The game features new simulation and graphics engines, new regional game play and the new ability to track the lives of individual Sims as they go about their daily routine: "...players experience new God-like powers of creation as they lay the groundwork for their cities by molding mountains, carving valleys, seeding forests and laying rivers. With these new landscape creation features, players can now construct the most realistic metropolis imaginable. Each city a player creates becomes part of an ever-growing tapestry of municipalities that, once connected by transportation networks, share and compete for resources." The Mac OS X-only game is available for pre-order for $50.
AJA Video Systems has announced Io, the first uncompressed audio/video FireWire capture device for Final Cut Pro 4, is now shipping to select dealers and distributors. On Saturday, June 14, Io will be shown at participating Apple stores including SoHo, New York, and The Grove, Los Angeles, during Apple's 4@4 kick-off event to launch Final Cut Pro 4. The high-end, 8- or 10- bit broadcast video device allows a user to connect professional analog or digital audio/video to an Power Mac G4 or PowerBook G4 via a FireWire interface. Io supports 10-bit component and composite analog video, SDI digital video, multiple audio formats including balanced and unbalanced analog, AES/EBU digital, optical ADAT, optical S/PDIF, RS-422 machine control, and genlock. The $2,300 breakout box carries a three-year, unconditional warranty. (Earlier today, we noted that Apple began shipping Final Cut Pro 4 for Saturday delivery.)
Other World Computing today announced the expansion of its Mercury Extreme product line to include G4/1.4-1.467GHz and G4/1.25-1.26GHz processor upgrades. OWC's Mercury Extreme processor upgrades are 'plug-and-play' solutions that do not use or require enabling software. Fully compatible with PowerMac G4 AGP-equipped models (350MHz to 1GHz), they act as replacements to the stock Apple G4 daughtercard and do not take up a separate PCI or AGP slot. Also included in each upgrade is a pre-installed, high-performance heat sink and an ultra-quiet cooling fan. Each unit comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, as well as a three-year limited warranty and an option for OWC to buy back the used processor being replaced. They are available immediately for $620 and $500, respectively.
Several MacNN readers report receiving confirmation notices from the Apple Store for Final Cut Pro 4, which is expected to available on June 14. Apple is offering free shipping (and Saturday-delivery) for orders placed from the Apple Store. The full version is $1000, while upgrades are $400.
MacNN reader Adam Yellin (and others) report that Quark representatives are not supporting the "next week" ship date announced for Quark 6, as noted by Apple earlier this week: "I just spoke to Quark about ordering the Quark 6 update and was told that Apple should not have posted that Quark 6 will be released next week. They said only that it will be released before July 31 and would not guarantee anything earlier."
Apple is being sued by The Open Group, the San Francisco company that claims ownership of the Unix trademark, for using the term Unix in conjunction with its Mac OS X operating system without a license, reports c|net: "Apple has countersued, asking a judge to declare that the trademark is invalid, because the term Unix has become generic. Though initiated nearly 18 months ago, the case has not yet gone to trial. According to a motion filed with the court Tuesday, both companies want to have an exchange of factual documents completed by August, with a trial sought for February."
Glucose today updated WeatherPop, its menubar weather utility. Version 1.8 adds a new data source, usatoday.com as well as improvements to WeatherPop's user experience--to better communicate when its retrieving data or to indicate problems with the user's connection to the Internet. It also includes numerous bug fixes, including accuracy improvements and speed optimizations. WeatherPop is free, while the $8 shareware "Advance" version provides forecasts, a color icon, favorite locations, and other advanced features. A 14-day trial is available. [Std, Adv]
Verax, makers of the MDD Silence Kits, is soliciting feedback from users of specific MDD Power Macs to solve a rare problem with its kits: "as you are probably aware, the Verax kit for the Mac has caused problems with some (actually very few) Macs. We would like to ask your users for assistance in solving this issue, which seems to affect only specific series of the MDD Macs....Our engineers worked overtime on this and we have a solution ready, but we need to test it now - and this is where the Mac community comes in. We can't get hold of the affected series of Macs anymore, therefore we'd like to ask all users to read the statement [and get back to us if applicable]."
DivXNetworks today announced the release of DivX 5.0.6. This new version of the DivX video format (in the form of a QuickTime codec) fixes several bugs, including one that prevented encoded video from playing in the VLC player. But most importantly, this version of DivX and DivX Pro includes a fix for the long-standing QuickTime issue that prevented the sound in AVI multimedia files with MP3 audio from playing properly. DivX is free, while the Pro version with a higher quality encoder/decoder, an MP3 encoder and MPEG-4 support is $20 (a 15-day trial is available). [Std, Pro]
AFP548.com has released VaporSec 1.0, a complete freeware IPSec configuration utility for Mac OS X. It uses the operating system's built-in capabilities to easily enable connections to a number of IPSec gateways and other OS X machines. It has support for X.509 certificates in addition to most any configuration option you can find in the racoon.conf file. The latest works with Check Point, SonicWall, Linksys, and Draytek routers and firewalls. The source code is available on request. [1.0MB]
Robust Digital Solutions today announced 'deeply discounted' pricing on all rack mount models. The G-Series rack mount model is "now one of the industry's lowest priced" hardware-based RAID 5 solutions. At $4,000, "the G-Series 720 GB rack mount is a great value", says Diane Christ, Marketing Director of Robust Digital Solutions, "capacities of 480 GB and 360 GB are available at even lower prices." Another rack mount RAID system, the 2U high K6 model, received a price reduction as well. The K6 RAID is available in 360 GB, 480 GB, 720 GB and 1 TB capacities with list prices starting at $4,400.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R